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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Tokyo silver medalist Petecio draws top-seeded Chinese in 1st assignment

HANGZHOU—Nesthy Petecio and the rest of the Philippine boxing team will be tested to the hilt when action goes full blast in the 19th Asian Games on Sunday at the Hangzhou Olympic Stadium.

The 32-year-old Petecio was drawn right away against top seed Lin Yu Ting of Chinese-Taipei in her opening bout in the women’s 57 kg class.

The Filipina though, beat Lin the last time they crossed path in the ring, eking out a close 3-2 decision in their Round-of-16 match in the women’s 57 kg class of the Tokyo Olympics.

But boxing coach Ronald Chavez said the Asiad is an entirely different ballgame for Petecio, who bagged a silver in the 2020 Olympiad.

“No. 1 agad natapat. Tinalo ni Nesthy ‘yan kaya hindi nag-medal sa Olympics. Pero hindi pa rin dapat magkumpiyansa,” said Chavez shortly after the draw on Saturday.

Boxing competitions carry an added load in this year’s Asiad as it also serves as qualifier to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Four Filipino boxers will have their hands full on opening day, including Tokyo bronze medal winner Eumir Marcial.

The 27-year-old Marcial, also a pro boxer, takes on Mongolia’s Ganzorig Badmaarag of Mongolia in his first foray in the 80 kg division hoping for an explosive start for Team Philippines supported by the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission.

Another Olympian in Irish Magno will be up against Nigina Uktamova of Uzbekistan in the women’s 54 kg, while Ira Villegas is set for a clash opposite with Mongolia’s 21-year-old bet Yesugen Oyuntsetseg in the women’s 50 kg.

The other Filipino fighter who will climb the ring on opening day is Mark Ashley Fajardo versus Tashi Wangdi.

Tokyo Olympics silver medal winner Carlo Paalam makes his debut in the 57 kg class against Abu Jaja of Jordan, Aaron Jude Bado in the men’s 51 kg versus Thitisan Panmod of Thailand, and John Marvin against Nepal Ra of Nepal in the heaviest class at 92 kg.

Only Marjon Pianar drew a bye in his opening bout in the men’s 71 kg to advance to the next round.

No Filipino won gold during the 2018 Asiad in Palembang, Indonesia. Rogen Ladon gave the country a silver medal, while Paalam and Marcial both accounted for a bronze.

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